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Peter_Suciu

Debate - When to restore?

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To restore or not is a debate worthy of Shakespeare dialog. With YouTube we've seen some taking it to extremes. So is it preserving or destroying history? I asked some who do the restoring as well as collectors and wrote a piece for Forbes.com:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/petersuciu/2020/04/15/youtube-restoration-videos-preserving-or-destroying-history/

 

 

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Good piece. Since nobody else replied, I'll comment...

I have never had to choose between the 2 paths described (restoring or leaving as is), but here is a somewhat related story that might cheer you up (as in being cheered up by hearing about something that is worse...)

I like old cars... if I had the time and means I would gladly restore old cars as a hobby. Lacking both I revel in watching it on TV.
BBC has a show - Wheeler Dealers - where 2 guys restore cars. Well, since the cars are not necessarily vintage it is often more repairing than restoring, but it's all done in good humor, explaining what they're doing and how details specific to this car was constructed and how it works etc. After each episode I feel I learned something. Great show!

Then there is the... sigh... US variety. The - numerous - shows all claim to be restoring, but this is ALWAYS interpreted as slapping on some chrome, LED lights, metallic paint, big rims etc. All done without showing any actual work, but with loads of staged 'interpersonal drama', jumping high-fives and "That's so cool, dude" dialogue.
It breaks my heart to see a beautiful - albeit worn and tired - old pickup truck being 'restored' into a pimp-mobile.

So all this to say... be happy that you only have to deal with restoring or leaving as is... not, say, a chromed Adrian helmet...

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, Great Dane said:

Good piece. Since nobody else replied, I'll comment...

I have never had to choose between the 2 paths described (restoring or leaving as is), but here is a somewhat related story that might cheer you up (as in being cheered up by hearing about something that is worse...)

I like old cars... if I had the time and means I would gladly restore old cars as a hobby. Lacking both I revel in watching it on TV.
BBC has a show - Wheeler Dealers - where 2 guys restore cars. Well, since the cars are not necessarily vintage it is often more repairing than restoring, but it's all done in good humor, explaining what they're doing and how details specific to this car was constructed and how it works etc. After each episode I feel I learned something. Great show!

Then there is the... sigh... US variety. The - numerous - shows all claim to be restoring, but this is ALWAYS interpreted as slapping on some chrome, LED lights, metallic paint, big rims etc. All done without showing any actual work, but with loads of staged 'interpersonal drama', jumping high-fives and "That's so cool, dude" dialogue.
It breaks my heart to see a beautiful - albeit worn and tired - old pickup truck being 'restored' into a pimp-mobile
.

So all this to say... be happy that you only have to deal with restoring or leaving as is... not, say, a chromed Adrian helmet...

Sadly this just about sums it up, but to be fair, I have seen some amazing work done on restoring vintage aircraft to their real former glory

Edited by Alex K

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Hello Everyone,

Great topic!

In the areas of military black powder firearms and swords I tend to be more of a preservationist than a restorationist. Helmets? Not an issue as who collects helmets anyway? I’m only kidding of course, I also have helmets; besides Peter knows where I live so even if I thought it I would never say such a thing.

 Automobiles, trucks, tanks and aircraft I like to see restored to their former glory. I’ve seen artillery pieces in “as found” condition and to be honest they just don’t have the same feel for history that “like new” holds, at least for me. Never been a fan of rust and decay. As far as what I collect it’s remove the active rust, clean and put on a protective coat of oil or Conserver’s Wax, I think it is sold under Heritage Wax in some parts of the world.

 A fellow sword collector whose collection is nothing short of jaw dropping always restores each and every sword he purchases and he has become a pro at turning out magnificent pieces. The problem for me is that using buffing wheels even with the finest of grit removes a small amount of metal. The trick is to know when to stop and this is where the problem starts. How many pieces are ruined while learning such a craft? I see a lot of blades that have been subjected to a wire wheel and then to a buffing wheel in an attempt to undo the deep scratches left by the wire wheel. These are usually on a dealer’s table for years before some novice collector makes the mistake of adding it to his or her collection; that is if it ever sells at all.

 We had these “debates” here on the GMIC many times before and each time I think we have come to the same conclusion. It is all a matter of personal choice with the overall advice to use caution and better less than running the risk of crossing the line and producing junk from what could have been a historically significant artefact.

 I hope more members will weigh in with their opinions.

 Regards

Brian

 

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